Forschungszentrum Jülich pursues cutting-edge interdisciplinary research addressing pressing issues facing society today while at the same time developing key technologies for tomorrow. Activities focus on the fields of information technology and brain research as well as on energy and the environment.

The cooperation of researchers at Jülich is characterized by unique expertise and infrastructure in physics, materials science, nanotechnology, and supercomputing. With some 5,500 employees, Jülich – a member of the Helmholtz Association – is one of Europe’s large research centres. In cooperation with different partners, Forschungszentrum Jülich develop and use key technologies, such as high-performance computing, to open the door to new applications.

In this process, research questions and technological developments are inextricably linked with each other. Environmental terrestrial research and observation focuses on hydrological and biogeochemical processes in terrestrial systems and is performed at the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Agrosphere (IBG-3).

The studies focus on the fate and behavior of anthropogenic materials and the elucidation of conversion processes with regard to the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum and on the cycles of important materials. A combination of experiments, modelling, and innovative observation technologies is used to study processes on both the small and large scale, in order to put management recommendations for sustainable and resource-conserving use of soils and water on a scientific basis.

    The project will essentially be implemented by:

  • Dr. Carsten Montzka, research scientist at Agrosphere Institute (IBG-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich since 2007. Member of the Tandem-L science team and co-lead of the CEOS Land Product Validation (LPV) subgroup on soil moisture. Important projects: Helmholtz-Alliance on “Remote Sensing and Earth System Dynamics”, ESA Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) Mission, NASA Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) Mission. Research Interests: hydrological remote sensing, data assimilation, hydrological modelling.
  • Dr. Roland Baatz, research scientist at Agrosphere Institute (IBG-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH since 2011. Projects: Integrated European Ecosystem, Critical Zone and Socio-Ecological Research Infrastructure (eLTER ESFRI initiative), TERrestrial ENvironmental Observatories (TERENO), International Soil Modelling Consortium (ISMC). Research interests: Earth system dynamics, land surface-, ecosystem- and hydrologic processes, recent in-situ Earth observation methods, model-data linkage.
  • Prof. Dr. Harry Vereecken, Director of IBG-3 Agrosphere and Professor of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bonn since 2000. In 2008 he won the Don and Betty Kirkham Award for soil physics from the Soil Science Society of America. Important projects: TERENO, SoilCan: part of TERENO Observatories-Network (BMBF), Transregional Collaborative Research Centre SFB/TR32 (“Characterising spatio-temporal patterns of water and C-fluxes at field scale”). Research Interests: Modeling flow and transport in terrestrial systems, Hydro-geophysics, soil physics, Fate of chemicals in soils and groundwater.
  • Dr. Heye Bogena, research scientist at Agrosphere Institute (IBG-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich since 2005. Important projects: TERENO, Transregional Collaborative Research Centre SFB/TR32 (“Investigation of eco-hydrological processes and feedbacks in the soil-plant continuum at different spatio-temporal scales”, “Evaluating the performance of CLM and ParFlow-CLM and identification of systematic model errors on the basis of innovation statistics from multivariate data assimilation”). Research Interests: Soil moisture sensing techniques, Environmental monitoring, Hydrological analysis and modelling
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Kollet, research interests include: Interactions of the terrestrial hydrologic and energy cycles, watershed hydrodynamics, scientific computing in HPC environments, surface water – groundwater interactions, subsurface flow and transport (mass, energy), thermodynamics of soil moisture, experimental and theoretical aquifer hydraulics
  • Prof. Dr. Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen, he focuses his research on integrated land surface- subsurface modelling and in particular on the optimal informing of model predictions by measurement data, using sequential data assimilation and inverse modelling techniques. Other research interests include stream-aquifer interactions and the role of heterogeneous riverbeds, groundwater inverse modelling, modelling of evapotranspiration and statistical analysis of spatio-temporal variable environmental data.

Key expertise
The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Agrosphere (IBG-3) is contributing to research about the water-, energy, and matter cycles from point scale to global scale which is funded through the Programme Oriented Funding of the Helmholtz Association (Programme 5: terrestrial environment). Especially the long-term in situ and airborne monitoring infrastructure programs Terrestrial Environmental Observatories (TERENO) and Advanced Remote Sensing – Ground Truth Demo and Test Facilities (ACROSS) contribute to an in depth calibration and validation of current and future spaceborne earth observation systems data.
A large variety of hydrological and environmental states and fluxes is continuously measured by IBG-3. Data access to the TERENO observatory data is provided through the TERENO data portal TEODOOR (TErenO Data Online repOsitoRy, http://www.tereno.net) following a common data exchange policy. Standardized, OGC-conformal web-services provide data and metadata both for internal and public use. The Center for High Performance Computing in Terrestrial Systems (HPSC TerrSys) develops, implements, and applies generic key technologies for integrated simulations of terrestrial systems at the catchment and basin scale.
Key technologies include, for example, physics-based scientific code and data assimilation infrastructure based on advanced parallel paradigms and algorithms. The implementation of earth observation data is a very important task for sequential model calibration and improved predictions. These technologies are needed to assess and manage water resources in the context of global change that impacts socio-economic well-being, human health and security worldwide. Exemplified applications are drought and flood management and prediction, as well as operational on-line irrigation.